I have a fresh install of Ubuntu 15.10, I installed cinnamon. I observed than the latter was using a lot of CPU, see below:

enter image description here

I see no reason for this, and if I kill the process, cinnamon launches automatically and this behaviour starts again.

I did not activate costly 3D features or whatever in the interface. Any idea how this could be solved?

Specs: PU: Core i7, RAM: 8Gb

  • How powerful is your CPU, how much RAM do you have?
    – Daniel
    Nov 11, 2015 at 2:12
  • @Daniel See my edit. You'll see why I don't think it has anything to do why the hardware (and I never had this problem with Unity on 14.04, on the same PC).
    – anderstood
    Nov 11, 2015 at 2:39
  • Well you didn't say anything about 14.04 in the question, and if you had inferior hardware it would be running with higher utilization
    – Daniel
    Nov 11, 2015 at 14:26
  • @Daniel I'm just saying it has nothing to do with a hardware limitation. Btw you can read the RAM from the picture.
    – anderstood
    Nov 11, 2015 at 16:13
  • 1
    I've found out that sometimes cinnamon RAM high usage is caused by seemingly unrelated apps - classic one is Chrome - try to restart it first (close ALL windows), I came back to the SAME amount of SAME tabs, but this time 1,1GB less memory was used (by cinnamon itself), additionally Chrome also had lower RAM usage, but that's another story :)
    – jave.web
    Aug 8, 2020 at 15:41

2 Answers 2


Through process of elimination I found some applets can cause this behavior, in my case these two:

  • temperature@fevimu (for CPU temp on each core/cumulative)
  • gputemperature@silentage.com (ATI and NVidia cards)

Of the two, the GPU applet appears more impacting. Running the CPU applet for several hours results in occasional window freezes concurrent with CPU spikes.

ALT+F2 - r usually restores Cinnamon to typical CPU (2%-3%) and reduces its RAM utilization by 50MB-75MB upon restart. Seems to indicate some applets which do a lot of frequent polling are not cleaning up after themselves.

About my laptop -

System report generating...


Linux fender 4.2.0-1-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 4.2.6-1 (2015-11-10) x86_64 GNU/Linux


model name : Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU T9600 @ 2.80GHz model name : Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU T9600 @ 2.80GHz


KiB Mem : 8108740 total, 330984 free, 2361056 used, 5416700 buff/cache


/dev/sda1 38317204 17780024 18567696 49% / /dev/sda5 81572908 23645824 53760312 31% /home /dev/sdb1 240232960 39382632 188624076 18% /int


01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] RV635/M86 [Mobility Radeon HD 3650]




2.6.13-1 cinnamon 2.6.13-1 cinnamon-common 2.6.0-2 cinnamon-control-center 2.6.0-2 cinnamon-control-center-data 2.6.2 cinnamon-core 2.6.5-1 cinnamon-desktop-data 2.6.2 cinnamon-desktop-environment 2.6.3-1 cinnamon-l10n 2.6.4-2 cinnamon-screensaver 2.6.3-2 cinnamon-session 2.6.3-2 cinnamon-session-common 2.6.3-2 cinnamon-settings-daemon 2.6.5-1 gir1.2-cinnamondesktop-3.0 2.6.0-2 libcinnamon-control-center1:amd64 2.6.5-1 libcinnamon-desktop4:amd64 2.6.0-2 libcinnamon-menu-3-0

  • Sorry I did not answer before but for some unknown reasons, my cinnamon has stopped overloading, so I can't check your suggestions. It is still bugging thought (top and bottom bar disappears after some time...).
    – anderstood
    Dec 24, 2015 at 1:53
  • This helped me on 20.04 with Cinnamon. I have a bunch of applets, too, most of which I cannot even disable by normal means. Checking now how they may be disabled anyway ... Oct 13, 2021 at 19:33

I suppose this has different reasons in each case.

In my case, if I start Cinnamon with "software rendering", it has really high CPU usage, similar as in the question above (e.g. around 200%).

If I start it without "software rendering", it is much better (e.g. around 4%).

I suppose that on some systems, if the graphics card is not fully supported or drivers are missing, a similar effect can happen.

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